• STV
  • MySTV

Once Scotland's best modern building, now abandoned and unwanted

St Peter's Seminary has lain derelict in woodland for almost four decades.

By Clare McNeill

The owners of a historic building which has lain derelict for almost 40 years are willing to give it away - but can't find anyone to take it.

A-listed St Peter's Seminary in Cardross, Argyll, was built as a training college for priests in 1966.

It closed in 1980 after trainee numbers fell, before a short spell operating as a drugs rehabilitation centre.

Once voted Scotland's best modern building, it now lies abandoned in woodlands, covered in graffiti.

The Archdiocese of Glasgow has accepted it will have to give the site away - if it can find someone to take it.

Ronnie Convery, director of communications, said: "It remains something we have a responsibility for, but that we can't do anything with.

"We even got to the stage where we said we'd give it away for nothing, including the beautiful estate around it.

"But even at that stage no-one is around to take it on. The problem is that it's very difficult to do anything with it.

"It no longer functions as a seminary and because it's listed and on greenbelt, to find another use is proving practically impossible."

The building has lain derelict for nearly 40 years.
The building has lain derelict for nearly 40 years. HEMEDIA

To architectural expert Alan Dunlop, the building is of "true international significance" but that view is not shared by everyone.

He said: "Lots of people describe it as a car park, lots of people online saying 'why don't we just demolish it?'.

"But although it's dilapidated at the moment, St Peter's Seminary is a building of importance in Scotland and also a building of true international significance.

"It was built at time when Scottish architects were among the best in the world.

"It's important because of its magical setting, set within this Kilmahew landscape, and also because of its structural ingenuity and quality of natural light.

"It's a big building but looks as though it almost floats off the ground."

Plans to transform it into an arts venue fell through.
Plans to transform it into an arts venue fell through.

The old seminary came close to earning a new lease of life in 2016 when a Glasgow arts company planned to transform it into a £10m performance and exhibition centre.

However, despite spending more than a decade on the project, NVA's plans collapsed when funding was lost.

Argyll and Bute Council has designated the land an "area for action", raising hopes a new purpose will soon emerge.

Mr Convery said: "It's a good thing to list buildings because they are of significant heritage and importance.

"But that can't be an albatross placed round the neck of the owner if the owner can't find any alternative.

"It's unfair if the building has completed its service but it then can't be sold, that the previous owner should continue for decade after decade after decade for responsibility of its maintenance.

'We would hope that after a certain period the authorities would recognise that as good stewards we had done everything possible to find alternative uses for it but where there is no alternative use something has to give."

More than 200 historic Scots buildings 'at risk'

There are currently 2341 listed buildings on the 'at risk' register in Scotland.

Many owners struggle to find a fresh use for them after their original purpose is exhausted.

The Scottish Historic Buildings Trust say a number of factors play a part.

"It's all about money, if you have money you can do what you want, " they say.

"A lot are either owned by people who don't have the money to repair them.

"Local authorities don't use their powers to force owners to repair them. Or sometimes it's the wrong building in the wrong place.

"It can be a beautiful building but in such an isolated place that's its so difficult to find a use for it, and the use its built for is usually in decline.

"If we could catch them just on the cusp of becoming expensive to repair that would be the best time to do it, but obviously we can't always do that."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.